The mother of the two young boys who were killed on Friday in a Palestinian terror attack spoke Sunday of her loss, and of the moments of the attack, which also seriously injured her husband.
Yaakov Yisrael Paley, 5, and his brother, Asher Menahem Paley, 7, died after a terrorist drove a car into the bus stop where they were waiting, in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot. Another man, Alter Shlomo Lederman, a 20-year-old yeshiva student who married just two months ago, was also killed.
Devorah Paley, who is expecting a baby, spoke to the media at the family home in Ramot, where the family was sitting shiva — the traditional week-long Jewish mourning period.
“It is a blow to us,” she told Channel 12 news. She added that God had taken her two “sweet children” and “we believe that just as He gave them to us with love, He also took them from us with love.”
She remembered her sons as “happy children, good children who loved to help.”
“Now they are together up above,” she told the Ynet news site. “In life and in death, they were inseparable.”
Paley said the two boys and their father had been on their way to a family celebration and were traveling by bus, as there was not enough room in the family car for all of them. An older brother was also with them. Her husband, Avraham, had taken the three to the nearby stop at Ramot Junction so that the three boys could catch a bus together.
Avraham and the two younger boys exited the family car and were at the bus stop. Her other son, who was supposed to accompany his brothers on the bus, had not yet joined them when the terrorist’s car slammed into those waiting at the stop.
“Suddenly, the older son phoned [me] and shouted that there had been an attack,” she recalled to Channel 12.
Paley said that when her son called to say there had been an attack, he did not know where his father or his two brothers were. She headed to the scene, quickly realizing that it was a major terror incident and that “my family is at the center” of it.
Her elder son, she soon found out, was lightly injured. A while later she was informed that her husband had been taken to the hospital.
“I understood that there were people killed,” she said, but she could not get any further information from emergency responders who had arrived.
“At a certain point, someone came up to me and asked me if I can identify a boy,” she said. That was her son.
While Yaakov Yisrael was confirmed dead at the scene, his older brother Asher Menahem was critically injured, only succumbing to his wounds the next day.
Devorah’s husband, who is still sedated and intubated at the hospital, does not yet know that his sons were killed.
“We hope that when he wakes up, God will give him the strength to face a new reality,” Devorah told Channel 12.
Speaking to Ynet, she said the outpouring of support from the public has helped the family deal with the tragedy.
“We feel that they are two children for the whole people,” she said.
Funerals were held for Asher Menahem Paley and for Lederman on Saturday night in the capital’s Har HaMenuchot Cemetery. Yaakov Yisrael Paley was buried on Friday, before the beginning of Shabbat.
The terrorist, identified as Hussein Qaraqa, was shot dead at the scene of the attack.
Eyewitnesses to Friday’s attack said Qaraqa accelerated into a group of Israelis waiting at a bus stop. A senior Israeli official said it was believed he was mentally ill, and that he had been released from a psychiatric hospital in northern Israel only days before.
On Sunday night, Hebrew media published footage of the attack, taken from another car’s dash cam.
צפירת הרגעה – זה התיעוד המקורי. מדובר במצלמת רכב רגילה של נהג שבמקרה היה עד ראיה לפיגוע. הוא לא הצליח לפתוח את הקובץ אז צולם מטלפון לטלפון, בגלל זה התנועה.
קרדיט: חדשות ישראל בטלגרם pic.twitter.com/AHUi75eX3b
— Haim Goldich | חיים גולדיטש (@HGoldich) February 12, 2023